LOS ANGELES – A plea agreement from the only person to be criminally charged in the San Bernardino terror attack drew mixed emotions from the victims’ loved ones.
Enrique Marquez Jr., 25, of Riverside, agreed to plead guilty Tuesday to providing the high-powered rifles used to kill 14 people and injure nearly two dozen others and to plotting a mass killing with the gunman Syed Rizwan Farook that they never carried out, court records say.
Marquez and Farook first met in 2005 after Marquez moved next door to Farook’s family in Riverside, about 55 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, officials said. The then-teens would meet in Farook’s garage and Farook, a Muslim, began educating his new friend about his religion. Marquez converted and became a Muslim in 2007.
The FBI said the two began discussing extremist views shortly after Marquez converted. By late 2011, Marquez spent most of his time at Farook’s home, where he read Inspire magazine, an official publication of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula; watched videos produced by al-Qaida’s affiliate in Somalia; and studied radical material online, federal officials said.
Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik opened fire on his co-workers on Dec. 2, 2015, and were later killed in a gunfight with authorities.
Prosecutors said Marquez acknowledged being a “straw buyer” when he purchased two AR-15 rifles from a sporting goods store that were used in the attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino. Prosecutors have said Marquez agreed to buy the weapons because the attackers feared Farook’s Middle Eastern appearance might arouse suspicion. Prosecutors said there is no evidence Marquez participated in the San Bernardino massacre or had advance knowledge of it.
Marquez also admitted to plotting with Farook in 2011 and 2012 to massacre college students and gun down motorists on a gridlocked California freeway, though those attacks never occurred.
Federal officials said the duo had envisioned halting traffic on state Route 91 with explosives and then firing at trapped motorists, or tossing pipe bombs into a crowded cafeteria at Riverside City College.
Marquez said he backed out of the plot after four men in the area about 60 miles inland from Los Angeles were arrested on terrorism charges in late 2012, the FBI has said in court documents.
“While his earlier plans to attack a school and a freeway were not executed, the planning clearly laid the foundation for the 2015 attack on the Inland Regional Center,” U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker said Tuesday.
The only person criminally charged in connection with the 2015 San Bernardino terror attack pleaded guilty Thursday to providing the high-powered rifles that were used to kill 14 people.
During Thursday’s hearing, U.S. District Judge Jesus Bernal allowed Gregory Clayborn, whose daughter, Sierra Clayborn, was killed in the attack, to address federal prosecutors. He expressed his disappointment in them for the plea agreement saying that Marquez was getting “a slap on the wrist.”
He added, “People get more time for committing a lesser crime.”
Under the plea deal, Marquez could face up to 25 years in prison. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 21.
Meanwhile, as is often the case and almost always ignored by fake news media, is the immigration aspects of the San Bernardino jihad case. It was committed by a Muslim immigrant whom U.S. officials failed to vet properly – and almost all those related to the Muslim terrorists involved were committing various forms of immigration fraud.
When the fake news media does “report” on it, they use nondescript headlines that tend to hide the immigration fraud aspect and the fact that the San Bernardino attack was an act of jihad…targeting those celebrating Christmas.
We took the liberty to revise the titles below that link to three other convictions related to the jihad attack in San Bernardino: